Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category.

Resurrection Garden How-to for Easter Season

I’ve seen many different versions of Resurrection Gardens through the years and had always wanted to make one.  Being a Type A person, I finally put it on my calendar for the following February to make sure we remembered to not let another year pass.  With my kids getting older, I’m realizing more and more how few years left we have to do such things together!

We had 3 other kids staying with us the weekend we did the project.  So, I can say that this was a doable and fun project for 4 years old through 8th grade!  I browsed through Pinterest at the variety of Resurrection Gardens to find my favorite design and followed the basic steps here.  However, I’d like to share my tips and tweaks of how we got our finished product.

We divided the process over a couple of days as we had time and so it wouldn’t be overwhelming.

Garden Center
First, we headed out to the Garden Center to gather these supplies:
-shallow, wide container (we went with plastic so it wouldn’t be heavy)
-potting soil
-3 plants for whatever lighting will work for where you are keeping the garden.  The kids enjoyed making the selections.
-moss (I actually had the fake version from the craft store on hand.)
-twine (Or use any string your have on hand for putting the cross together. Hot glue is another option.)
-small pot to use as tomb.  You can buy a clay one like I used.  But, I actually recommend using one of the round containers that the plants you purchase for this come in.   Here’s why…After a couple of weeks, the pot started growing something white.

Sticks and Stones Hunt
We have a city park/greenbelt behind our house and had a fun time foraging there for…
*1 large stone…needs to be approximately the size of the opening of the pot you are using for the tomb
*Several small stones…to use as a walkway, simply for added interest
*3 long sticks…make sure you account for the fact that part of them will be submerged in the soil.
*3 shorter sticks…for the cross bar

*Spread out all your supplies in your work space.  The temperature was nice outside, but a bit drizzly so we worked on our covered patio.
*Scoop dirt out of the potting soil bag to fill your large, shallow pot.
*Before taking the plants out of their pots, arrange everything as you wish the scene to look.
*Plant the plants.
*Cover the top of the tomb and any exposed dirt with the moss.
*Wipe any loose dirt out of the tomb and off the walkway rocks.
*Use the twine or string to put the cross bar on the cross.  Remember to put the cross bar high enough to account for the bottom part of the cross being stuck in the dirt.  To attach the cross bar, simply wrap the twine around several times diagonally both ways and then tie it off in the back.  Little hands will need help with this.
*Put a bandage or tissue in the tomb for the effect of the burial cloth.
Once it’s completed, set the creation in the middle of the kitchen table (before moving it to its final destination) and enjoy a snack around it while reading the Resurrection story from Matthew 28:1-10.

Looking for more teachable moments?  Check out my book, Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments. 


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How to grow your own butterflies to teach that Jesus brings new life!

Ever since my kids did this in their Kindergarten class, I’ve been itching to do it at home.  Last year, with a tween and a teen, I decided it was now or never!  Though they are probably too cool to admit it, we all enjoyed the process.   Click on the picture to order the same kit we used.  Inside is a voucher for ordering the caterpillars.


I’m posting this now in case you want to do this as a Lenten learning activity with your family.  Lent begins on March 1 this year.  You still have time to order this and have it wrapped up and ready to surprise them.  Or, you could save it for an Easter present as we did.  If you plan to wrap it up, make sure you order the box that does NOT have the live caterpillars included.  (Note:  I noticed some cheaper options as I was linking the product, but they all seem to ship immediately WITH the live caterpillars.)


(…and this is why I need to remember to NOT buy wrapping paper with white background.
I had to double wrap it awkwardly with the leftover paper to keep it being see-through!)

I will only show the start and finish, so you can discover the other phases on your own.  It truly is a way to worship God through miracles of just one of His many creations!



For those of you with little bitties (and really any age!), simply use this home project as a springboard for talking a God, the creator, and how amazing He is!

For those with kiddos old enough to think more abstractly, the analogy of the caterpillar to butterfly is a creative way to talk about the idea of Salvation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Salvation is foundational for our Christian beliefs, I devoted 4 pages to it in my book rather than 2 pages as with the other 100 topics.   Reference pages 190-193 of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments  for related Scriptures and more ideas on how to talk with your children about Salvation.


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Prepping to Parent with Scripture Through Lent

I did not grow up in a denomination that observed Lent and it is still not a focus in the denomination we attend today.  However, because I could see the value in observing it as a way to prepare for Easter, I decided to find ways into incorporate Lenten traditions into our parenting.  These are the ideas and resources that have been helpful and become special to our family.   This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 13th.  Since that’s coming quickly, I wanted to go ahead and post this blog in case you want to have the materials ready for your family. 

Lenten Coloring Calendar – Particularly when my children were younger, this calendar was useful and fun in helping them understand the time frame for Lent.  See the website listed and click on the link above the same picture on that blog to download a printable.

Tree –
Our favorite tradition is the Lenten Tree.  It works well with young children because of the tactile/visual aspect and has continued to be a blessing to our entire family as the children have grown.   The main resource needed for this is the book, The Lenten Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for Christ’s Death and His Resurrection, by Dean Lambert Smith.  There are separate devotions for adults and children for the 40 days, and each devotion theme has a corresponding ornament option .

Simple Ornaments Idea – This book can be used simply as a devotion, but to make it more interactive for the kids, there are ornaments to represent the Bible theme for each day.  A simple way to create the ornaments is to photocopy the graphic on the title page for each day’s devotional (see picture below).  Cut them out and let your children color them.  Then punch a holes in them and hang with ribbons or yarn.  If you want to keep these, consider laminating them.


Ornament Swap Idea – A more elaborate version of ornaments for the tree involves an ornament swap with friends to collect the 40 different ornaments needed (such as the wooden key chain fish in the picture above).  For more information on the swap, see my post from last year.

Tree Ideas – Natural branches from outside and secured in a large vase would be lovely.  Or, you might have a small version of an artificial tree from Christmas that you could use.  If not, this wooden tree that we purchased is inexpensive and does the trick!


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Resurrection Eggs

Can you believe that Easter is just a month from today?!
One of my favorite resources for this time of year is Resurrection Eggs.

Spice up your family or children’s devotional times by incorporating these through a variety of methods throughout the month –
*Open one a day and tell that portion of the Easter Bible Story.
*Hide the egg you are focusing on that day and let your child go on a hunt for it before discussing the contents.
*Once your child is familiar with the eggs and story, let him tell the story through the eggs.
*Let him hide the eggs for you to find before doing a review.

Resurrection Eggs, Updated Edition  -


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Lenten Tree

Last year, I received an e-mail  invitation that forever changed the way my family will observe Lent.  Not having ever been in a church where Lent was emphasized, I was floundering as how to make Lent a special part of our family tradition of preparing for Easter.  A lady at our church e-mailed a bunch of moms asking if we wanted to go in together on a Lenten Tree ornament swap.  The idea was based on this book –

The Lenten Tree by Dean Lambert Smith.  Click on picture to link to Amazon…

The book has 41 short devotionals, each with a corresponding image, for the days leading up to Easter and Easter Day.  The way the swap works is that each person takes one of the images and buys or makes 41 of the same ornaments.  For example, I picked the symbol for Day 19, which is a fish, and bought 41 key chains from Oriental Trading Company ( that work perfectly as ornaments.


On the day of the swap, each person brought her 41 ornaments.  The organizer  had 41 spaces on the floor labeled with everyone’s names.  Each person went around and put one of their 41 ornaments in each pile.  After everyone is done, every person checks her own pile to make sure she has each of the 41 different ornaments.  Voila!  All of us left with a complete set for the Lenten Tree!

Swap Tips – We actually didn’t have 41 people participate.  Several people decided to take on a couple of the slots so they would have one to keep and one to give away.  After all of us who wanted to participate had signed up, there were still about 6 slots left.  The organizer purchased the supplies for these ornaments and we all chipped in and helped make them during the swap.   With all of us working, it didn’t take us long to assemble the 41 of each of them and add them to the piles.

Non-Swap Version – An easy way to still have ornaments for your tree without the swap, is to photocopy the graphic on the title page for each day’s devotional (see above picture).  Cut them out and let your children color them.  Then punch a holes in them and hang with ribbons or yarn.  If you want to keep these, consider laminating them.

What to Use for a Tree – I’m sure there are lots of creative ideas for this.  But, I wanted something inexpensive, easy to store, and sturdy enough to hold the 41 ornaments.  I found the perfect one at  Several other swappers and I ordered them together in order to save on shipping.

Lenten Tree

What a special time this was for our family last year!
 We look forward to continuing the tradition this year and for years to come.

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